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Nicholas Shaxson on Tax Havens, the Banking system & UK Uncut

Nicholas Shaxson


Nicholas Shaxson (born 1966) is a British author, journalist, and an Associate Fellow of Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London). He is best known for his investigative books Poisoned Wells(2007) and Treasure Islands (2011). He is a full-time writer and researcher for the Tax Justice Network, an expert-led group focused on the harmful impacts of tax avoidancetax competition and tax havens.


Shaxson was born in Malawi and has lived at various times in IndiaBrazilEnglandLesothoSpainAngola,South AfricaGermany and the Netherlands. Since 1993 he has written on global business and politics for theFinancial TimesReutersthe Economist and its sister publication the Economist Intelligence UnitInternational AffairsForeign AffairsAmerican Interest, the BBCAfrica Confidential, African Energy, and others.

Shaxson currently lives with his partner and their two children in ZürichSwitzerland.

Awards and honors


source via Pulse

Remembering British MP Tony Benn, a Lifelong Critic of War and Capitalism



Tony Benn, the former British Cabinet minister, longtime Parliament member and antiwar activist, has died at the age of 88. He was the longest-serving member of Parliament in the history of Britain’s Labour Party, serving more than half a century. He left Parliament in 2001, saying he planned to “spend more time on politics.” In 2009 he appeared on Democracy Now! to talk about the war in Afghanistan and Britain’s fight for a nationalized healthcare system. “You’ve got to judge a country by whether its needs are met and not just by whether some people make a profit,” Benn said. “I’ve never met Mr. Dow Jones, and I’m sure he works very, very hard with his averages — we get them every hour — but I don’t think the happiness of a nation is decided by the share values in Wall Street.”

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We wrap up now with this latest news that just came in hours ago, and this is the death of Tony Benn. Today we remember Tony Benn. The former British Cabinet minister, longtime member of Parliament, antiwar activist has died at the age of 88, the longest-serving member of Parliament in the history of Britain’s Labour Party, serving more than half a century. He left Parliament in 2001, saying he planned to “spend more time on politics.”

Sharif Abdel Kouddous and I interviewed Tony Benn in 2009, one day after he led a protest against the war in Afghanistan in London. At the rally, Benn and others read the names of British soldiers and Afghan civilians who died in the war. I began by asking Tony Benn about the protest and Afghanistan.

TONY BENN: Well, it was a solemn occasion, and the names were read.

But, you see, I think you have to understand the history of this. Britain invaded Afghanistan in 1839, captured Kabul, and was defeated the following year, and 15,000 British troops were killed in the retreat. Britain invaded Afghanistan in 1879. Britain was in Afghanistan in 1919. The Russians were in Afghanistan. I led a delegation to the Russian ambassador in London to protest that. The United States government, President Bush, the first one, funded Osama bin Laden to fight the Russians to get them out of Afghanistan.

And the situation we’re in now is very straightforward. The United States and NATO, 40 countries with 64,000 troops, in eight years have been unable to defeat the Taliban. And this is a Vietnam War for America and for the rest of the—well, for the people involved, soldiers and civilians on both sides, it’s an absolute tragedy.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: And Obama defended the war yesterday, calling it “a war of necessity.” Your response to that?

TONY BENN: Well, I think you just have to ask yourself the question: Is it a war on terror, or is it a war on Afghanistan? It’s a war on Afghanistan. And to call it a war on terror just entitles you to do what you like. And I don’t think it’s going to succeed.

The other thing I have in mind is very simple. A few years ago, London was bombed by terrorists. And how did it end—from northern Ireland. How did it end? It ended when we talked to Gerry Adams, who was the IRA leader in prison. Nelson Mandela was denounced as a terrorist by Mrs. Thatcher, and peace came in South Africa when the South African government talked to Mandela, and he came out and became president. I mean, history tells you, and Churchill put it very clearly: Jaw-jaw, talking, is better than war-war. And there will have to be negotiations with al-Qaeda and Taliban to secure the end of this conflict. Of that, I have no doubt whatsoever.

SHARIF ABDEL KOUDDOUS: Well, Tony Benn, we also wanted to talk to you about the issue of healthcare.

AMY GOODMAN: Tony Benn, you’re a former Cabinet minister, longest-serving MP in the history of the British Labour Party. Explain your system in Britain and what the battle looks like to you across the Atlantic in the United States.

TONY BENN: Well, I mean, for me—and I love, know America. I’m married to an American, known America for 70 years. It’s amazing. I think most people in Britain just regard it as being uncivilized for a great, rich country to ignore the health of 47 million people. And I don’t say that as an insult; we just don’t understand it.

It was set up in Britain in 1948, 61 years ago. And I have with me the statement made by the government at the time. “Your new National Health Service begins on the 5th of July. […] How do you get it?

“It will provide you with all medical, dental, and nursing care. Everyone—rich or poor, man, woman or child—can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a ‘charity’. You are all paying for it, […] as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in time of illness.”

And, I mean, my family has benefited enormously. I had an operation a few days ago in London. I’ve got a pacemaker put in under the Health Service. My wife died of cancer and for four years had the most brilliant healthcare.

And I suppose one way of looking at it is this: There’s a lot unemployment in the United States, as there is in Britain, and one way of creating jobs would be to build hospitals, recruit nurses, train doctors, and then meet the health needs of the country, as well.

I just don’t understand what’s being said. Well, I do understand, because I know the people who are saying it. But it’s absolutely no relation to the Health Service in Britain or the needs of the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, any thoughts on the comparison of the debate you’re seeing today with what happened before the British—the National Health Service was ushered in in Britain? Are you seeing an echo of it?

TONY BENN: Yes, in a way. I mean, some of the doctors were opposed to it, but they all came around. Some of the consultants said, “We don’t want to be civil servants.” But they’re not civil servants. You had a little bit of it.

But I’ll tell you what really changed it, and it takes you back to the 1930s. We had mass unemployment, as you did in the United States. And I was a pilot in the Royal Air Force in the war, and we were discussing on a troop ship coming home once how we would deal with the problems of unemployment. And one lad got up, and he said something I’ve never forgotten. He said, “In the 1930s we had mass unemployment, but we don’t have unemployment when we’re killing Germans.” He said, “If you can have full employment by killing Germans, why can’t you have full employment by building hospitals, building schools, recruiting teachers, recruiting nurses, recruiting doctors?” And that’s how we got it.

We took the view that a government had a responsibility to focus on the needs of a nation in peacetime in the way in which it does in wartime. And if that principle is followed, then all the ideological language can be set aside. You’ve got to judge a country by whether its needs are met, and not just by whether some people make a profit. I’ve never met Mr. Dow Jones, and I’m sure he works very, very hard with his averages—we get them every hour—but I don’t think the happiness of a nation is decided by the share values in Wall Street.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Tony Benn appearing on Democracy Now! in 2009. He has died at the age of 88.

Exclusive: UK’s secret Mid-East internet surveillance base is revealed in Edward Snowden leaks

 Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept and process vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence agencies, The Independent has learnt.

The station is able to tap into and extract data from the underwater fibre-optic cables passing through the region.

The information is then processed for intelligence and passed to GCHQ in Cheltenham and shared with the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States. The Government claims the station is a key element in the West’s “war on terror” and provides a vital “early warning” system for potential attacks around the world.

The Independent is not revealing the precise location of the station but information on its activities was contained in the leaked documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden. The Guardian newspaper’s reporting on these documents in recent months has sparked a dispute with the Government, with GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives containing the data.

The Middle East installation is regarded as particularly valuable by the British and Americans because it can access submarine cables passing through the region. All of the messages and data passed back and forth on the cables is copied into giant computer storage “buffers” and then sifted for data of special interest.

Information about the project was contained in 50,000 GCHQ documents that Mr Snowden downloaded during 2012. Many of them came from an internal Wikipedia-style information site called GC-Wiki. Unlike the public Wikipedia, GCHQ’s wiki was generally classified Top Secret  or above.

The disclosure comes as the Metropolitan Police announced it was launching a terrorism investigation into material found on the computer of David Miranda, the Brazilian partner of The Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald – who is at the centre of the Snowden controversy.

Edward Snowden (AFP/Getty) Edward Snowden (AFP/Getty)

Scotland Yard said material examined so far from the computer of Mr Miranda was “highly sensitive”, the disclosure of which “could put lives at risk”.

The Independent understands that The Guardian agreed to the Government’s request not to publish any material contained in the Snowden documents that could damage national security.

As well as destroying a computer containing one copy of the Snowden files, the paper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, agreed to restrict the newspaper’s reporting of the documents.

The Government also demanded that the paper not publish details of how UK telecoms firms, including BT and Vodafone, were secretly collaborating with GCHQ to intercept the vast majority of all internet traffic entering the country. The paper had details of the highly controversial and secret programme for over a month. But it only published information on the scheme – which involved paying the companies to tap into fibre-optic cables entering Britain – after the allegations appeared in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. A Guardian spokeswoman refused to comment on any deal with the Government.

A senior Whitehall source said: “We agreed with The Guardian that our  discussions with them would remain confidential”.

But there are fears in Government that Mr Greenwald – who still has access to the files – could attempt to release damaging information.

He said after the arrest of Mr Miranda: “I will be far more aggressive in my reporting from now. I am going to publish many more documents. I have many more documents on England’s spy system. I think  they will be sorry for what they did.”

David Miranda, left, with Glenn Greenwald (AP) David Miranda, left, with Glenn Greenwald (AP)

One of the areas of concern in Whitehall is that details of the Middle East spying base which could identify its location could enter the public domain.

The data-gathering operation is part of a £1bn internet project still being assembled by GCHQ. It is part of the surveillance and monitoring system, code-named “Tempora”, whose wider aim is the global interception of digital communications, such as emails and text messages.

Across three sites, communications – including telephone calls – are tracked both by satellite dishes and by tapping into underwater fibre-optic cables.

Access to Middle East traffic has become critical to both US and UK intelligence agencies post-9/11. The Maryland headquarters of the NSA and the Defence Department in Washington have pushed for greater co-operation and technology sharing between US and UK intelligence agencies.

The Middle East station was set up under a warrant signed by the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband, authorising GCHQ to monitor and store for analysis data passing through the network of fibre-optic cables that link up the internet around the world

The certificate authorised GCHQ to collect information about the “political intentions of foreign powers”, terrorism, proliferation, mercenaries and private military companies, and serious financial fraud.

However, the certificates are reissued every six months and can be changed by ministers at will. GCHQ officials are then free to target anyone who is overseas or communicating from overseas without further checks or controls if they think they fall within the terms of a current certificate.

The precise budget for this expensive covert technology is regarded as sensitive by the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office.

However, the scale of Middle East operation, and GCHQ’s increasing use of sub-sea technology to intercept communications along high-capacity cables, suggest a substantial investment.

Intelligence sources have denied the aim is a blanket gathering of all communications, insisting the operation is targeted at security, terror and organised crime.

Glenda Jackson launches tirade against Thatcher in tribute debate


Funny EDL Interview – Incoherent Anger, Muslamic Infidels

Paul Williams says: This gentleman’s compelling arguments are sure to win over many people to EDL’s cause

Terrorist (truther) convicted for being on TV show

FREE MOHAMMED HAMID! – An innocent man, ‘Imprisoned for Public Protection’, for the crimes of calling non-Muslims to Islam and helping communities.



Facebook group:…


2nd part of interview here:…

Mohammed Hamid was convicted in 2008 under politically-motivated circumstances. He was found guilty of “soliciting to murder” under legislation dating back to 1861, despite never actually instructing anyone to any specific act. The conviction was based upon innocuous statements allegedly made by Hamid whilst under covert surveillance which, by the accounts of those who appeared in court for the prosecution, were twisted to suit a government agenda.

As part of a documentary about Muslims in the United Kingdom, “Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic”, the BBC filmed Hamid and others playing paintball. However, the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service felt that there must have been something sinister about Muslims paintballing and camping in the woods. Statements were given by the police, of which the strongest allegation was a testimony that “they were holding sticks exactly as I have seen people in Iraq.” That this was their strongest evidence, even after months of surveillance which included the use of undercover agents and covert recording, is a stark indication of the legitimacy of the prosecution.

It is our contention that it is no more of a crime for Muslims to go paintballing or camping than it is for the thousands of other people who go paintballing and camping every year. Yet, in these “war of terror” times, it has meant that Mohammed Hamid and others are now serving totally unjustifiable sentences for taking part in activities that are not in themselves crimes.

It is our fear that this sentence will be the first of many for Muslims in the United Kingdom — and by extension of the precedent Hamid’s case has set, for non-Muslims too — indeed anyone who does not champion the British government’s foreign policy or who have a different world view.

Hamid’s prosecution amounts to nothing but internment in another guise and is an affront to general principles of law and justice. It was a calculated, cynical attempt to justify a year long undercover operation, which revealed nothing more than that Hamid perhaps had a sense of humour that may not be to the taste of middle England, and that he was openly critical of British foreign policy.

We call on the British government to release Mohammed Hamid and overturn this serious miscarriage of justice.

Scenes from Jazza


Latest in the series of two weekly protest demos outside the Ahava shop in London, which markets so called “Israeli” goods which are in fact goods made in an illegal settlement on stolen Palestinian land with chemicals stolen from the Palestinian territory at the north western corner of the Dead Sea.. This explains Ahava’s reluctance to go to court against pro-Palestinian activists as they know they are involved in the illegal sale of stolen goods.

says the sender of this clip :This is another one from Seymour Alexander. I sing a boycott version of Hava Nagila, the ‘Ahava Laughing Song’ and I taunt Jonathan Hoffman by singing the ‘Barcarolle’ from the Tales of Hoffman at him! The end is rather amusing, but wait and see! Meanwhile, Millet can be seen, doing his usual, menacing stalking around at the front with his camera. Martin Sugarman is the spidery man with the beard.

Letter to the Guardian : Miliband’s values on foreign policy

We welcome Ed Miliband’s statement that Labour‘s foreign policy should be “based on values, not just alliances” (Leader’s speech, 29 September). For too long Britain has blindly followed the US in supporting Israel, right or wrong. There is one, immediate decision Ed Miliband can make which will show that these are not empty words. Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were patrons of the Jewish National Fund. We urge Ed Miliband to break from this tradition.

The JNF is actively complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. For example, it established the Canada Park in the West Bank on the ruins of the villages of Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba. Today in Israel’s Negev region it plays a major role in the establishment of exclusively Jewish settlements and the demolition of “unrecognised” Arab villages.

The JNF was founded in 1901 with the aim of purchasing land “for the purpose of settling Jews on such lands and properties”. To this day it refuses to lease or rent land to anyone who is not Jewish. In 1953 and 1961, Israeli legislation made the JNF responsible for the land allocation policies of the state itself. In 1995 the Israeli supreme court, in the Ka’adan case, ruled that the JNF’s partner, the Israeli Lands Administration, could no longer discriminate against Israeli Arabs by refusing to lease or rent state lands to them. This was held to be equally applicable to the JNF. The response of the JNF was that Israel was first and foremost a Jewish state not a state of its own citizens. Ed Miliband stood as the candidate of change in the Labour party. Now is the time to show that these weren’t just words of spin.

Tony Greenstein

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi

Emeritus Professor Moshe Machover

Michael Mansfield QC

Dr Chris Burns Cox

Professor David Pegg,

Leon Rosselson

Dr Sue Blackwell

Pete Firmin,

Abe Hayeem

Professor Myriam Salama-Carr,

Dr Rumy Hasan

Roland Rance

Dr Monica Wusterman

Deborah Fink

Jackie Alsaid

Ken Baker St Jerome Publishing

Professor Mona Baker

David Bangs

Dr Judith Brown

Ruth Clark

Adam Darwish

James Dickins

Greg Dropkin

Jackie Fearnley

Alf Filer

Naomi Foyle Brighton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Kenny Fryde

Terry Gallogly

Anne Gray

Cliff Hanley

Rosamine Hayeem

Bob Jarrett

Ros Levy

Kevin Moore

Beryl Maizells

Zoe Mars Chair, Brighton & Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign

John Metson

Safiya O’Donnell

Nicola Ostreicher

Ernesto Paramo

Dinah Rahman

Roger Reeve

Professor Dee Reynolds

Michael Sackin

Miriam Scharf East London NUT

Michael Shanahan

Ruth Tenne Israeli Human Rights Activist

Yvette Vanson

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